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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry to create a separate thread from my main one - but this is more a general question regarding how to go about a suspension overhaul bit by bit. I'll probably be doing this in my driveway in digestible bites as the weather warms up.

The most important thing I need to do now is overhaul the suspension. I've read many threads here and over in the suspension forum but I am looking for a more generic discussion about a "plan of attack" for re-doing the suspension. I am not going to have time to take the car off the road and do all at once. I'm going to have to do most of this myself, both of my trusted mechanics are closed during the quarantine. A lot of people here have already done this and am looking for some lessons learned.

Here are the criteria:

1. Assume average DIY skills. No bushing press at home
2. Trailing arm bushings already done with OEM replacements (huge improvement)
3. Dampers replaced with Koni Yellow already (huge improvement)
4. Thinking about a "fast road" type overhaul (minimal lowering)

Now on to the questions:

1. Advice for plan of attack for weekend by weekend bites of work. Suggestions for what areas to attack first? Example, attack each corner at a time? System by system?
2. How much realistically can I do with out a press for the bushings? Example - it may be cheaper to buy some new suspension pieces and bushings and go DIY than buy and/or press to take to mechanic
3. I can rent tools (spring compressor etc)
4. Thinking about Alfaholics overhaul kit (was quoted price without dampers or trailing arm bushings). So assume I'll buy all of the pieces at once to have at hand. HOWEVER maybe buying piece by piece could fit the master plan and spread out the cash flow.

All of a sudden I have a lot of time at home and am trying to make plans.......
 

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There are lots of discussions on this topic, but here are a couple of observations, being part way through a front suspension overhaul:

First, unless you have access to the Alfa special tool or one of the clones, use the threaded-rod method to compress and decompress the front springs. I've used both hardware store all-thread and acme threaded rod from McMaster; the latter is quicker and smoother, but I see the threads are somewhat distorted after the removal phase, so the acme may really be too soft steel and/or too coarsely threaded for the job. The generic auto parts store spring compressors are likely hard to use, borderline dangerous. For the rear suspension you don't need a compressor. Support the differential while removing the shocks and limit straps, and then slowly lower the diff.

And for the front suspension I haven’t needed a press. A pair of big sockets, half-inch threaded rod, nuts, and a stack of washers worked fine for the lower a-arm bushing. The rears are harder, but yours are already done. And those can be done without a shop press, by drilling out the rubber and carefully cutting a slit in the outer steel sleeve. Threaded rod again to install the new ones.

Again, search around. There’s lots of info on the topic.
 

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A couple more bits of advice as I’m waiting in line at Costco: To remove the tie rod ends and ball joints, the generic “pickle fork” generally works if you don’t plan to reuse the parts, but it can be pretty brutal on the rubber boots. I’ve bought a couple different screw-type pullers; neither is perfect but they both are helpful. And a workbench with a good vise is always a major help. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I saw your threads in the Suspension forum. I'm a bit daunted by the prospects but its time to step-up and at least try to pull this off.:)
 

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And for the front suspension I haven’t needed a press.
Actually, I was going to respond to Baldanzi with exactly the opposite thought!

While it may be possible to do these tasks without a press, having one makes things so much easier. Since Baldanzi lives here in the States, I assume he has access to Harbor Freight. I got one of their 12 ton presses thinking I'd use it for just one job, but it has become one of those tools that I find myself using fairly often.

Let's say there are three approaches to the problem of pressing bushings in and out. I would rate them as follows:

#1 Best: Buy a simple press. You can offset the cost by what the shop would have charged you for option #3. And you'll become real popular with your Alfa owning friends!

#2 Acceptable: Use a vise, BFH, threaded rod, hacksaw, .... to remove/install bushings. Risk damaging parts, bashing knuckles, using creative language, .... But yes, you'll save a few bucks.

#3 Avoid: Pay a shop to do your press work. They will install bushings backward / upside-down. They will lose or damage parts. And they'll charge you for the experience.
 

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@Alfajay, yep, I likely could have saved time with a press and find plenty of uses for it in the future. (And would have missed the experience of seeing a 1/2" rod fail under tensile load and shoot washers and sockets across the garage; hence the drill-rubber-and-saw method for the composite bushings.) My two reasons for not buying a press were a) the inner cheapskate and b) not wanting to add more big stuff to an already cluttered garage. (A higher priority for the next space-taker-upper would probably be a good drill press.) But it's all good.

@Baldanzi, none of this is particularly difficult if you have basic mechanic skills, and there're lots of great resources on the BB. But only if time is your friend. I've been at this since December and am far from done, granted with what was a demanding job and keeping family life together. This does include stripping and painting parts, which is not totally necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So to be a bit pedantic, I'm planning this out.

Actually, I can borrow a press to simply take the parts to my friends (social distancing needs to be considered!).

Red = bushings that will require pressing out/in
yellow = parts included in suspension overhaul kit, no pressing/replace
(steering parts not shown, i have to do that too - my drag-link is bent)
1619486
 

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My two reasons for not buying a press were a) the inner cheapskate and b) not wanting to add more big stuff to an already cluttered garage. (A higher priority for the next space-taker-upper would probably be a good drill press.)
Yes, I can understand the "space-taker-upper" problem with a press. And if I had to chose between a bushing press and a drill press, the drill would win out.

Baldanzi said:
Actually, I can borrow a press to simply take the parts to my friends
Well that's the best choice of all! Recall what I said about how owning a press was the key to popularity. Instead of a press, you can always get a trailer if you want to have more friends.
 

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The sway bar link bushings also require pressing. They're small so not a lot of force is required, but was a bit of a pain in the *ss the last time I did it, because it was hard to secure the sway bar while pressing the bushing off/on. Maybe someone here has a good technique.

And if you replace the upper link in order to replace that ball joint, it will come with new bushings installed. However Classic Alfa recommends replacing the outer bushing with poly, and some BBers recommend replacing the inner bushing with the steel spherical type for the lower a-arm. I did both, but that arguably may be overkill.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
#3 Avoid: Pay a shop to do your press work. They will install bushings backward / upside-down. They will lose or damage parts. And they'll charge you for the experience.
#3....And there is the main reason. I've had such bad luck with my modern cars and mechanics, I do what I can myself. Not only to save some money but ensure its done correctly. This suspension stuff is a bit out of my comfort zone, I did it 30 years ago on my volvo 1800s and it was a pain. No press for most, took the hard ones to my cousins body shop to press out finally.

Plan of attack is being formulated. Do the front, take out all that requires pressing and drive to friends house...press out (beer), repress (beer).

I'm thinking about going the lazy route and buying the Alfaholics kit, that way I'll get everything I need in a box (minus dampers or trailing arm bushes). Plus the pound is pretty low now too...

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If it's helpful, this is a very good guide for the front suspension. Identical 105 set up.

I agree with others above about having things pressed in by a machine shop. I had to write down very careful directions so it all went into place, and then paid like $175 just for the right front! So I'll do my own from now on using your model - I hate to fill up the garage with big tools I'll use rarely.
 

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You only need a large hammer, and maybe a large screw driver, to separate ball joint tapers. Mechanics do not use ball joint separators, they haven't got time for that ... a couple of whacks in the right place while providing separation load on the screw driver and pop they separate. I have done it this way for more than 30 years, even when ball joint is to be reused. Will do it this way on my fully restored 1750GTV when it is finished ... and did it only a month or so ago when I replaced my outer CV joint boots on the 156v6. Pulled the whole front suspension to pieces so I could take the axle out with the hub; that means 6 ball joint tapers.

Just because somebody makes a tool, does not mean it is required, more they are trying to make a buck ... and if you cannot break a ball joint with a hammer, get somebody to show you how to use a hammer. Will be the best thing you have ever learnt, as hammers and confidence are required on many jobs.

Also if you have or purchase a large strong vice, you don't need a press for most suspension bush work. Just as difficult with sockets and spacers. The large vice can be used for many more things.


Have fun. If the Alfa is your only car, I would do front lower bushes and outer ball joint, both sides, one weekend. Then front upper bushes and outer ball joint, next weekend ... lots of driving in between and you may find that you don't need new springs or lowering ...
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh wow, thank you all for the help. That link above is PERFECT. I didn’t come across it in my searches! It’s so much more descriptive than my maintenance manuals.
Seriously, thank you!! ?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
To follow up... I am probably going after the rear first. There is no question that the front needs attention but when I'm out driving the only source of noise is the rear and harshness over bumps. No question the trailing arm bushings helped a lot, then new konis helped even more! There is still some grinding/rubbing in the rear. Also a bit of looseness back there (NOTHING like before the trialing arm and shocks replaced)

1. just before Christmas I was never home travelling for work. I paid a local Alfa guy to do the brakes... something I could do my self usually but I was never home. Immediately upon picking the car up there was a new noise in the rear, went back to the shop and was told the right rear wheel bearing was shot (could replacing brakes have affected the bearing?). I was heading out of town again so I had them do the rear bearing. He only had time to do the one (!).... saw it out of car - no question it was shot (it barely turned). Some of the noise in the rear went away after that.

2. I drive the car a lot now... there still is a rubbing (grinding?) noise on occasion in the rear. I cannot place it. Not constant, so probably not the left rear bearing (still need to do it anyway). Seems more related to body movement but I cannot establish a cause/effect relationship. I cannot make it happen "on command".

3. Trailing arms new, shocks new. Limit straps, bump stops all old but intact....The reaction trunion bushings? They are hard to see! Don't think its the sway bar, that is usually a rattle/clunk. Definitely more of intermittent rubbing/grinding.
(Also noticing a very dirty diff. Guessing a leaky pinion seal. I'm going to drain, refill the diff this weekend - maybe the diff is almost dry and a potential source of noise?)

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To follow up... I am probably going after the rear first. There is no question that the front needs attention but when I'm out driving the only source of noise is the rear
You're in luck! Vintre has one of each!

 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Ok, be kind, this is my first Alfa...

...aren’t I supposed to have a rear anti sway bar? Or were they “value engineered” out of the later 115 models like mine? ***

I find one bolt hole.... but I don't think that's even the right spot?


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I don't think Giulia sedans ever had rear sway bars, and the other 105/115 models didn't get them until about 1969. Debate rages on whether or not the rear sway bar is a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
See I’m stupid. All the books and suspension diagrams show it but is because they apply to the coupes. Got it!!

I’m under the car today planning out what I need to do....comparing to the forum threads and the suspension diagrams and I’m like something’s missing ?
 
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